Monday, September 22, 2014

Excuses, Excuses...

Here's my condensed version of excuses to why this is my first blog post in the past three weeks:

1) I took some time off for my birthday. Wednesday, September 10th, I was supposed to, by obligation, post something new. However, that day was my 17th birthday, so I took the day off.

2) I had a few things on my mind. This whole "Hey, you're a senior in high school, so you gotta make all these life decisions" type thing. So, instead of writing here, I was college surfing and pros/cons list writing. I spent most of my free time listening to unsafe amounts of Chill Out music to relieve the obscene amount of involved
stress and whatnot.

3) We moved! My family and I have been living in a camper for about two months, waiting for our newly purchased home to be closed and moved out of. Saturday (the 20th), all that happened. So, I've been working, getting ready for the move, moving in general, and unpacking after the move. So, life's been plenty busy.

Fear not, for I bring you new posts and good tidings for all. After reading through some Mark and reading through some Luke, I have a few post topics on the top of my head that I'd like to share; so stay tuned, my friends and faithful followers!

Until Saturday...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Monumental

Originally posted November 8, 2011. Slightly revised.

I've been to Washington D.C. several times. My sister loves history and art and pretty things so we would always go there for her birthday. It's a beautiful place. I love it up there.
   
If you know anything about the USA's capital it's that it's full of monuments. Some for past presidents and some others for great men of America. But these monuments are HUGE. My personal favorite is the Washington Memorial. This monument is the tallest structure in D.C.—in fact, it is illegal to construct anything higher than it in the city. Just looking at it makes you feel so small and makes the man that it represents looks so important. I mean, George Washington was more than our first President, he was a Founding Father and a model American for us to follow for the rest of history. 

My question is, Washington is great, but God is greater. Right? However, why is it that Washington got a towering monument, but God didn't?

Where is God's monument?

I'm gonna let my imagination run wild with this one. If God ever had a monument, it would be the epitome of "gigantic". Thousands of feet tall. Thousands of miles wide. Millions and millions of tons. With golden walls covered in diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious jewels. Overflowing with water, towers of smoke, and the whole Bible in its original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek written in letters hundreds of feet high wrapped completely around it. It could be seen from the moon as a golden dot as large as a period (.) and as shiny as a lightning bug. That would definitely be a memorial for the King! 
   
Or maybe we already have one. Maybe it's something like the canyons, or the oceans, or the mountain ranges... perhaps the star constellations and supernovae. Maybe God's made His own monument and put it in nature.
   
Paul (the apostle, not me) mentions God's memorial twice* in his first letter to the Corinthians, both of them begin with the phrase, "Do you not know...". So apparently it is very obvious where His memorial is. But people (including us) look for something in the smallest nooks and crannies, under every sheet of paper, and behind every spec of dust to find the answer to our question when really, most of the time, it is right under our noses, in the most obvious place there is. It's the same way with God's monument. So here is what Paul says:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
(1 Corinthians 3:16)

You are the monument. You remind others of God. You are the high tower that people look at to notice the His greatness. No, you aren't made of gold and precious stones, but you are God's choice in being His monument to stand out and tell everyone who He is and what He's done.
   
God is monumental and you are His monument. A monument to represent the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That is why He made you: to "show off" Jesus. If that is not how you live, then you aren't living for what you were put here for. 
   
And get this, if you're a monument, you aren't the only one. There are millions of them all over the place. Some are overseas. Some are at your church. Some in your neighborhood. Every true Christian is a monument for Gods glory! Isn't that cool?

Christian, you were made to be His monument. Non-Christian, you were made to be His monument. And he's worth it. He didn't found a country, but He found the lost. He created You for that purpose, loved you so much, and gave you His Son to take the punishment for your sin.

If we aren't showing the world the saving power of Jesus Christ, then what are we showing? We're all a monument for something. Be a monument for someone who is truly worthy of it.

*1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Is a Christaholic?


A few days ago, I decided to Google "christaholic," just for kicks and giggles. Good news is, this blog is on the first page. Bad news is, I found a quote that could give some trouble for understanding was Christaholism is. Now, I'm sure that myself and the author of the quote didn't know of each other and coined the same term and then gave them different meanings, but the point stands that I now feel obligated to define what exactly I mean when I say "Christaholic" to disperse any future confusion. I have not been able to find the original source of this article, but there are several places on the web where you can find the following:


Many Christians are only “Christaholics” and not disciples at all. Disciples are cross-bearers; they seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves, and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana. Like drug addicts, they are trying to “bomb out” of their depressing world. There is no automatic joy. Christ is not a happiness capsule; He is the way to the Father. But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which we sit and do nothing while we are whisked through various spiritual sensations. (Miller, Calvin. The Taste of Joy. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 17.)

The way that Calvin Miller defines Christaholic here is as someone who goes to Jesus to escape the trials of life and uses Him to give themselves happiness. Now, since the term "Christaholic" is completely made up, there is no wrong or right definition. I'm sure Miller made this term unaware of my blog (either that, or I made up the term unaware of his article), and so there should be no brash conflict over the definition. I'm not saying Miller is wrong and I'm not condemning him for something that he didn't mean to do (or perhaps I didn't intend to do it... I don't know.) In fact, for the definition that Miller gives the word, he is absolutely %11,008 right.

Christaholics, using Miller's definition, only care about their own happiness. What matters to them is escaping their crappy life by using inspirational Jesus-quotes and worship services to recharge their hedonistic batteries and give themselves Spirit highs. And it is most certainly true that many people in our pews are like that.

Christaholics, using my definition, only care about Jesus. My definition of Christaholic is "a person who is addicted to God," hence the subtitle "The God Addiction." An addiction is be "enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity." Therefore, when we have a "God addiction," we are enthusiastically devoted to Him, making Christaholic nearly synonymous with discipleTherefore, a formal definition would be:


Chri•sta•hol•ic: (KRIE-stah-hawl-ik) A person who is enthusiastically devoted to God.


To offer Biblical definitions:

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 – but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 42:1-2 – As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 73:25-28 – Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

Philippians 3:7-11 – But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

So, no. When I say that Christians should be Christaholics, I am not saying that we should become hedonistic theists. However, I am saying that we should find our joy in Christ, we should be enthusiastically devoted to Him, we should depend on Him, we should love Him above all else, we should be addicted to Him!

But then again, it's not uncommon for one word to have different meanings... just look at the word run.